Mora Asian Kitchen Oak Park Opens in the Arts District

Mora Asian Kitchen celebrated its grand opening last month. According to owner Jason Morales, the high-profile location at 201 Harrison Street in the Oak Park Arts District was an ideal spot for the destination dining experience he had in mind. The 2800 square foot space boasts seating for 85, an open-concept kitchen and craft bar. The resulting design successfully creates a Chicago feel without having to trek into the city.

Those familiar with the space over the years may recall a previous version in need of extensive work. Morales was the perfect candidate to oversee such an ambitious project. Drawing on years of experience in construction management and restaurant design, Morales was able to transform the space from its rough and run-down version into its current one.

Mora Asian Kitchen Oak Park

Exterior of Mora Asian Kitchen Oak Park (photo credit: Jason Morales)

Mora Asian Kitchen in Oak Park is the third location to open in as many years for Morales and siblings Christine and Mike. Christine manages operations at all three locations. Mike is an Executive Chef at Sunda in Chicago. The complementary nature of all three skill sets helps make each location its own unique dining experience while maintaining consistency between restaurants.

Mora Asian Kitchen’s Third Location

All 3 Mora locations share a set of fixed menu items (the flash-fried and shredded Brussel sprout salad is a popular dish at all three), however, each location reflects the specialty and training of its lead chef. Mora Asian Fusion in Bolingbrook has a portion of its menu dedicated to Filipino cuisine. Mora Asian Kitchen in Plainfield has a varied assortment of sushi and Robatayaki style offerings.

Mora Asian Kitchen Oak Park

Interior Mora Asian Kitchen Oak Park (photo credit: Jason Morales)

At the Oak Park Mora, Executive Chef, David Lam specializes in Vietnamese cuisine. Lam was Chef de Cuisine at Le Colonial for six years. His influence on flavor combinations and presentation is evident. The resulting menu is a fusion of Asian cuisine, presented as tapas.

Tapas Meals with an Asian Twist

When planning the menu, Morales knew he wanted the flexibility and variety that tapas meals provide. Says Morales, “The typical dinner plate at most restaurants has a lot riding on it. You go out for a nice meal and usually order one main dish. What if you don’t like it? With tapas you have more flexibility. There’s a possibility that you might not like one of your choices but there’s also a high likelihood that you’ll discover something you love. And you can try something new while you’re at it.”

In addition to tapas offerings, there’s a craft bar. Intriguing drinks like the Ichimi Margarita and Paloma Picosa (Mora’s take on a spicy margarita) are available. Drinks such as these are made from scratch, not in premade batches. Patrons are also able to choose from an assortment of imported liquors, including a dozen types of sake.

Another Opening

This unique take on traditional drinks and dishes has inspired Morales’ latest venture. Recently, he’s been working with the village of Oak Park to bring a pop-up restaurant to the neighborhood. Located across the street at 200 Harrison, this temporary dining experience will be available for two weeks in December. The menu will feature tacos representing notable cities from around the world.

Included in this list of globally inspired tacos: A Parisian taco featuring duck confit, a Mexico City taco with flavorful pork belly and, of course, a Chicago taco with Italian beef. Saigon, Sidney and Seoul will also be represented in addition to 14 other cities.

More Information on Mora Asian Kitchen Oak Park

Currently, Mora Asian Kitchen is open Tuesday through Saturday with plans to expand hours for lunch (daily) and brunch (weekends). For current information on both the restaurant and pop-up visit their Facebook page:

www.facebook.com/MORAAsianKitchenOakPark/

You can also check out their mouthwatering Instagram at Instagram.com/moraasiankitchen/ or visit in person at 201 Harrison St.